11 things to consider before buying a desk lamp

desk lamp buying guide

Have you ever sat at your desk for hours with just an overhead fluorescent light on? Or natural light from the window pouring across your desk? Only to discover that your eyes get irritated and become itchy.

They also burn a bit with an increased sensitivity to light. You can feel the strain on your eyes and you develop a slight headache.

Almost everyone has the same reaction to this situation. You poorly attempt to relieve this feeling of discomfort by rubbing your eyes with the palms of your hands. Then you proceed to rub the back of your head where that slightly annoying headache is emerging. 

Well, we dove head first into finding a solution to this irritating fact of extreme eye discomfort while working from a desk in poor lighting situations.

We discovered that you can fix this problem with one simple solution. Just by simply adding a quality desk lamp to your work or study area.

A desk lamp is designed to illuminate your work area to help reduce eye strain and the symptoms that go with it. Not to mention that a good desk lamp can increase mood and production.

Selecting the Perfect Desk Lamp

Choosing the perfect desk lamp for your office, library, or study can be a daunting task. Especially, if you really consider all the factors you should be looking for when you go to buy your next desk lamp.

The difference between a great desk lamp and just an ok one are what attributes you want the desk lamp to possess that will make your tasks easier.

Not one of us is like the other. We all have different needs when it comes to choosing the right desk lamp. Basically, what task you want to complete and your vision needs will determine which desk lamp is best for you.

There are many styles that offer a wide array of functions. This is great because there is a perfect desk lamp out there to fit anyone due to the many options available on the market today.

Here are some questions you should consider helping you find your next desk lamp.

What is the purpose of your desk lamp?

Of course, the most basic purpose of a lamp is to provide light. The desk lamp holds a much more practical purpose. A Common name for desk lamp lighting is ‘task lighting’. You will be increasing your productivity because the right kind of task lighting can affect your mood in a positive way and reduce eye strain. 

How much light do you really need?

There is no evidence to support that bad lighting will affect your vision for long term. Although, there is substantial evidence that poor lighting will have uncomfortable short term affects like headaches and extreme eye strain.

This can be avoided by having the right amount of illumination evenly spread across your work area.

The measurement of illumination is the light distribution on a flat work area called foot-candles. The most acceptable range for most home and work office desk lamp lighting should be between 30 and 50 foot-candles.

Another type of measurement for light output is called a Lumen. A common range for task lighting is 1000 – 1400 lumens. Quite a few desk lamps come with dimmer switches and a high/low switch to help you find the right fit for your desk top.

Where will you put the desk lamp?

A desk lamps primary job, as mentioned before, is to provide a light on your work area that reduces eye strain. The position of your lamp is also a crucial element into making sure you’re getting the best output from your desk lamp.

A good rule is to place your light about 15 inches to 36 inches away from your work area depending on your needs. Many desk lamps today come with adjustable arms to ensure you find your desired height.

Something we discovered in our research that you should consider is which side to place your lamp on.

If you are a right-handed person place the desk lamp on your left side and vice versa if you are a left-handed person. This will tremendously reduce the amount of shadows that are cast across your workspace.

Is there a power source where you want to place the lamp?

I know some of you are thinking, “No Duh!”. But, I would like to bring up that you make sure your desk lamp cord can reach a wall plug; or maybe your power strip you are already using at your desk for other devices that require electricity to operate.

Nowadays there are a variety of different cordless versions for desk lamps. Some of these desk lamp types come with a USB plugin so the lamp can be recharged.  

What other features to look for in a desk lamp?

There is a few features you should consider before making a final decision on a desk lamp. The obvious is lighting, many desk lamps offer a variety of lighting options.

These options can be for task lighting, ambient lighting, or maybe even accent lighting.

There are some desk lamps that offer all three options. Which kind of lighting you need solely depends on what you’re looking to do at your desk?

Decor is another feature that you might consider. It is true most of the time desk lamps are chosen for their practical uses. If you can find one that is practical and also goes with the ambiance of the existing desk top, it would be aesthetically pleasing. In turn, it could bring a nice feng shui to your home or work office.

Height is another key feature that should go into your decision making before purchase. Many desk lamps today are adjustable to meet any one individual’s needs.

Brightness levels are also an important feature to consider. The amount of brightness a desk lamp possesses often has to do with the type of bulb that is being used. But there are many lamps today that have brightness control switches.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Desk Lamp

After extensive research on desk lamps, completed by asking ourselves the same questions I mentioned above. We came up with what we thought were the best attributes to consider when choosing a great desk lamp.

What we actually created is a complete desk lamp buying guide that we have broken down into 11 things to consider before buying a desk lamp.

1. Consider the desk lamp types

Based on the bulb types, there are 5 types of desk lamps.

Halogen Desk Lamp

These types of lamps are great if you do a lot of reading at your desk. They offer a bright natural light that makes it easy to focus on text. The bright white light of a halogen lamp decreases eye strain.

The halogen light bulb will last about 2 to 3 times longer than a regular bulb. The unique thing about halogen bulbs is they use 10% to 20% less energy than a standard light bulb.

Incandescent Desk Lamp

Incandescent desk lamps use a typical light bulb that produces light from the heat of the filament burning inside the bulb. This type of lamp gives off a warm slightly yellowish glow.

That makes it an excellent light source for the evening time! These desk lamps run a little cheaper than the others, but the bulb does not last as long.

Full-Spectrum Desk Lamp

If you’re a graphic designer, interior designer or you have a job where seeing color in detail is necessary. Then a Full-Spectrum desk lamp is ideal for you. These lamps make color look exceptional because the light actually covers the electromagnetic spectrum from infrared to near ultraviolet.

That is basically what our sun does when its light splashes across the earth. The full spectrum light is also known for having an increase in brightness as well as visual sharpness. It has been declared that it will increase workplace productivity.

Fluorescent Desk Lamp

This particular type of desk lamp comes in several shapes and styles; sometimes making it easier to find one that goes with your decor.

A Fluorescent desk lamp gives out a nice even coverage across your workspace with very natural looking light.

Fluorescent bulbs are also very efficient; they last almost 11 times longer than traditional bulbs. Another feature of the fluorescent bulb is it only gives off about 30% of its heat.

LED Desk Lamp

First off, LED lights produce remarkably less heat than all the other lights mentioned above. The LED Desk Lamp is the new era of desk lamps. They come in many unique designs to make for a sleeker looking desk top lamp.

An LED is a directional light meaning it creates a concentrated beam of light rather than sending light out in all directions.

So, what does this mean exactly? It will produce light down on your work area with no glare and no stray light shining back into your eyes.

The Lifespan of an LED light can last up to 50,000 hours. The LED desk lamps do come with a bit of a higher price tag but they also cost a fraction on your energy bill compared to all the other types of desk lamps.

2. Consider the features

Are you getting a lamp with the right type of light bulb for your projects? Always consider your lighting needs before making any purchase.

Many Lamps come with dimmer switches and other lighting features. If aesthetics are important to you then of course consider the decor of the lamp you choose.

Make sure you know what height you would like your desk lamp to be. Although many lamps come with adjustable or flexible arms to adjust height to your needs at the moment.

Then there is brightness, make sure you get a desk lamp that will offer the brightness that you desire. As mentioned before, brightness is usually dictated by the type of bulb that is used in your desk lamp.

3. Consider the material

Desk lamps are made from a few different kinds of materials. The most common being plastic mold, a flexible metal neck that is covered in plastic, ceramic, wood, etc…

The choice of what material you would like your desk lamp to be solely depends on if it is a practical fit to your already existing office.

4. Consider Bulb Type

The type of bulb you choose will determine many things about the output of light your desk lamp will allow. Knowing what the main objective will be at your work station should help you choose what type of bulb you need a little easier.

As mentioned above each type of desk lamp light bulb offers its own unique benefits.

5. Consider lighting adjustments

Many Desk Lamps come with many different types of lighting adjustments. These can be from having a dimmer control and a low/high power switch, to adjustment controls that let you adjust ambient, accent lighting, etc.

Make sure you understand what adjustment controls you might want to come with your desk lamp.

6. Consider Lamp Size

Of course, desk lamps come in many different sizes. How big is your desk or workspace? How big or small would you like a desk lamp to be? These are just some simple questions to ask yourself. I’m sure you can come up with others.

7. Consider Design

Do you want a desk lamp with a practical design? Or are you going for something snazzy looking to go with your already in place office decor?

I would suggest carefully looking at the design of the desk lamp you are considering to buy. For one thing, does the lamp’s base look sturdy enough?

Will the lamp fit in the space it will be designated to stand?

These are just a few things to consider when looking at the design of a desk lamp for your workspace.

8. Consider brightness and light Adjustability

As mentioned before, the brightness of your desk lamp is mostly due to the type of bulb that is being used. But some desk lamps, like the Full Spectrum, can adjust the brightness level to your desire.

The brightness level you want really lies with what type of activity you are performing at your desk, as well as, what you believe to be optimal brightness.

So, choose which type of desk lamp you want wisely, especially when it comes to the amount of brightness you want.

9. Consider Power Type

Do you want a desk lamp with a cord or not? You have many choices from lamps with cords that plug straight into a regular wall jack.

Maybe you want a cordless desk lamp? In today’s market, there are many new LED desk lamps that come with rechargeable USB ports.

There are also battery operated desk lamps. Choosing what type of power you want to run your desk lamp with is definitely a personal and practical decision you should consider.

10. Consider how much energy the desk lamp is consuming

Not every desk lamp is as energy efficient as the next one. The least efficient is the incandescent desk lamp with the most efficient being the LED desk lamp.

Definitely do your research into what energy output is being used by the desk lamp you decide to purchase.

11. Consider Price and Warranty

What kind of budget do you have?  This is usually a big factor to consider. Some lamps are very inexpensive but they may lack many functions like light adjustment.

While others can have a higher price tag, they generally come with all the bells and whistles to give you full control over your desk top lighting needs.

I suggest you always consider what type of warranty comes with the desk lamp you are interested in buying.

Final verdict

The research that went into our desk lamp buying guide helped us discover many things about what to look for in a good desk lamp.

If you’re considering getting a new desk lamp for your home office or for work. I hope these desks lamp buying tips gave you the understanding you needed to help you with choosing the right desk lamp.

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